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News from the Elite Graduate Programs

Inauguration ceremony of the Elite Master Program “SDAC”

On October 17th, 2017, the Orangery of Erlangen Castle hosted the inauguration ceremony of the Elite Master Program “Standards of decision-making across cultures” (SDAC), supported by the Bavarian Elite Network, at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg (FAU).

Prof. Michael Lackner, director of the International Consortium for Research in the Humanities "Fate, Freedom and Prognostication" (IKGF/FAU) which initiated the program, opened the ceremony by welcoming and thanking the program's main partners, the Bavarian Elite Network and the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, which have made this endeavor possible through their hard work and cooperation.

In their welcoming addresses, Prof. Friedrich Paulsen, Vice President for Teaching and Learning at FAU, and Prof. Ludwig Fesenmeier, Dean at FAU, underlined the University long commitment in international research and teaching. Mrs. Beate Lindner, from the Bavarian Elite Network, came back on the joint efforts of the different parties to create this Elite Graduate Program with a unique combination of interdisciplinarity and interculturality.

Prof. Lackner also emphasized interculturality as a strong asset of the program and congratulated the nine students from six different nationalities who came through the highly selective process.

Standards of Decision-Making Across Cultures (SDAC) is an interdisciplinary study program that allows the students to acquire profound academic and methodological knowledge, as well as additional key skills regarding decision-making processes in East Asia. Over the course of the degree program, students receive profound insights into the processes of decision-making, e.g. in entrepreneurial, political, and cultural situations. Acquired knowledge include the fields of sinology, history, philosophy, religious studies, economics, social and cultural anthropology, and the history of science. The specific expertise of the program opens job perspectives for the graduate in professions concerned with culture, politics and business, as well as in interculturally work environments where the aforementioned fields of study intersect. Graduates will be capable to take a culturally sensitive and discerning stance when participating in real world decision-making, both in an international and specifically Asian-European context.

All courses are held in English and students are also offered Chinese language classes. Indeed, one of the highlights of the SDAC program is the opportunity for students to spend their third semester at Peking University, one of the best-renowned University in China, in collaboration with the European Center for Chinese Studies (ECCS) in Beijing. Thus, all along the two-years program, students will benefit from multiple interdisciplinary networks: the long experience of the Bavarian Elite network in academic research, the continuous presence of high ranking international scholars at IKGF, and the ECCS cooperation programs at Beijing University such as the prestigious Yenching Academy.

Prof. Stephanie Homola, as Junior Professor who will teach anthropology in the SDAC program, praised the program's strong focus on this discipline. Thanks to the efforts of the University and the Elite Network of Bavaria, two professorships for Ethnology and Anthropology, the first at FAU, have been created specifically for the program. The professorships' focus on Asia also makes FAU a pioneer in this discipline across Germany.

At the core of the inauguration ceremony, the conference by Prof. Hans-Wolf Sievert, from the Sievert Stiftung für Wissenschaft und Kultur, provided a comparative analysis of Western and Chinese decision-making and management style. As a long-standing connoisseur of Chinese culture and business world, Prof. Sievert relied on academic research in economics and behavioral sciences to account for cross-cultural variances in organization and business management.

All along the ceremony, as the beautiful orangery was bathed in sunshine, the audience was offered wonderful musical interludes by the "zheng" (also known as the Chinese zither) soloist Jun Yu who performed ancient and recent Chinese melodies.

Author: Prof. Stéphanie Homola
Photograph: Elitestudiengang SDAC



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